After having spoken to interior designer friends, researched the internet for expert tips and stared at the layout of my kitchen for hours on end, I feel like I am ready to confirm our kitchen layout in our home reconstruction/renovation. The time I’ve invested into getting this right is totally worth it because KITCHEN. It’s the most important room of the house. That’s where the majority of my time will be spent not because I’m going to be cooking and baking all day but because the purpose of the kitchen is changing. If you don’t believe me, look up “command center” on Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean. The kitchen is a place to entertain, organize your life and your family, while cooking the next meal or baking the next cake.
KITCHEN PLANNING TIPS
If you’re in the planning stages of a kitchen renovation, make sure you take these kitchen planning tips into serious consideration. A few of them include questions to ask yourself because I think it is really important to imagine how you will be moving around and using the space. You don’t want to move in and realize that your kitchen is completely inefficient and non functional.
- Know the purpose of your kitchen
Apart from the cooking and baking, what are you going to use your kitchen for? Will there be a entrance from the outside? If so, will you have a drop zone area for bags, keys or jackets? Will you be eating in the kitchen or is there a separate dining area? Will your command center be there (a place to write down expenses, activities, and grocery lists, organize mail, chores and homework)
- Kitchen Triangle Law
If you plan on really using your kitchen, you need it to be functional. The golden rule in kitchen planning is that the distance between the sink, stove top and refrigerator are no less than 4 feet (1.2m) and no more than 9 (2.7m) feet away from each other.
- Countertop Space
When it comes to expert kitchen planning tips, having too much countertop space is impossible. Ask yourself these questions when planning countertop space:
a. When you walk into the kitchen, where will you place the groceries?
b. When you take something hot out of the oven, where is the closest countertop to place it?
c. Where are you going to cut vegetables?
d. Do you have enough countertop space to have bowls of prepped ingredients ready to throw into your mixer or pot?
Not only is the quantity of countertop space important but also the location is important. Space around the sink and stove stop are crucial. Have a countertop beside or across from the oven as well because you don’t want to be running around trying to find a place to put something hot down.
- Dishwasher near the sink
After you rinse the dishes off, you’re not going to want to walk across the room to put them into the dishwasher. Ideally, it’s best to have it right beside the sink.
- Place oven at eye-level
If you don’t want to break your back, install the oven at eye-level. This way, you don’t have to bend down all the time to see if your cake is done or risk a back injury trying to pull out a heavy turkey out of the oven
- Install pull-out cabinets
For any cabinets at waist height and below, install pull-out cabinets. If you don’t, you will be on your knees, taking out several pots and pans before you reach those plates in the back that you needed. Then you have to put everything back. Ugh.
- Shop around for smart storage
Smart storage will prevent you from having to take out all your kitchen supplies to get to that serving dish that you need at the bottom of the stack of plates. There are lot of ideas on Pinterest showing smart ways on how to store cutting boards, pots and pans so that you can just reach in and take them out.
- Easy access to things you use the most
Keep cutlery, pots, pans, kitchen utensils, dishes and glasses you use everyday in places that are easy to access. Try to have the cooking supplies near the stove stop and the plates and cutlery near the dining area.
- Hide appliances
The first time I came to Italy and stepped into my MIL’s kitchen, I was confused because she didn’t have a refrigerator, nor a dishwasher. Only an oven and stove top. Ha, of course she had a fridge and dishwasher, I just didn’t see them because they were hidden and made to blend in with the cabintery. It is very North American taste to show off your stainless steel appliances. However, it now seems that home designers are starting to follow the hidden appliance trend to achieve aesthetic balance.
- Plan the layout based on traffic flow
In a home renovation, sometimes you can’t decide the location of certain appliances like the stove top, sink and dishwasher because the plumbing and gas connections are already fixed. Map out where the doors and appliances have to be on your layout and then imagine the traffic flow in the kitchen. Ask yourself these questions:
a. What path will I take if I walk through the kitchen into another room? Do I have to dodge any islands or countertops? If you have kids, would they be able to run through without running into any obstacles?
b. If I am cooking in the kitchen and someone comes to get something in the refrigerator, is there enough space for both of us?
c. If I am cooking in the kitchen, is there enough space for someone to pass through without getting in the way?
d. Think about the routine you have in your kitchen and apply it to the new one. Really try to imagine yourself working or entertaining in there. Where would your guests stand or sit? Is there a space they can naturally migrate to so that they can chat with the cook without getting in the way of the action?
- Cabinets that go up the the ceiling
In my current kitchen, the cabinets do not go up to the ceiling. What happens to the space on top of the cabinets? It collects dust or it collects display items that collect dust. I guess it really depends on your preference as to whether you want cabinets to go to the ceiling or not. It’s a question of functionality vs. aesthetics. All of my dust-collecting items are yellow, which is the accent colour in my black and white kitchen. So it is a cute a idea but I could have used the extra cabinet space and I hate bringing in the ladder to dust everything off. For my next kitchen, cabinets all the way to the ceiling!
- Consider a drying rack
In my current kitchen, above the sink, I have this frosted cabinet that has a drying rack. It is so convenient because I just wash the dishes, stick them up there and then close the cabinet doors. This way, I don’t clog up counterspace with drying dishes and my kitchen looks tidy. Unfortunately, in our new kitchen, we have a huge window in front of the sink (not so unfortunate, I guess) so I won’t be able to install that handy drying rack and will have to actually dry the dishes and put them away to clear up my counterspace. ugh. 1st world problems.
- Take photos of electrical and plumbing before drywall goes up
You never know when you are going to need that information.
- Low maintenance flooring
Hardwood is great but will ruin in high traffic and function areas like the fridge, sink and stove top. Consider a low maintenance floor that is easily to clean and that is not porous.
- Maximize counterspace around the stove
Elevated counterspace or a wall shelf around the stove can keep things off the main countertop. Use the elevated counterspace or wall shelf to keep salt, sugar, olive oil and spices. Make sure they are in pretty containers, though because they will be on display.
Are you renovating or building a new kitchen? What are some tips you would give?